Can We Do Two? (Or, “Where’s My Cap At?”)

Drumroll please…

This is what the Knicks cap situation looks like for the long-awaited “Summer of LeBron,” going into the 2010-2011 season. Only four players are under contract.

Player 2010-2011
Curry 11,276,863
Gallinari 3,304,560
Chandler 2,130,481
Douglas 1,071,000
roster charge* 2,841,624

Committed salary: $20.62 million.

If the Knicks want truly max cap space, they could let every other player – from Bill Walker on up to David Lee – walk away for nothing. However, until those players are “renounced,” they continue to take up cap space. For most veterans, the “cap hold” is 150% of their most recent salary. For “non-Bird” free agents, i.e. those who just got traded, like Eddie House, it’s 120%.

McGrady 34,859,342
Harrington 15,040,313
Lee 10,500,000
Duhon 9,047,700
House 3,434,400
Bender 895,907

The Knicks also have two players with team options, JR Giddens and Bill Walker. Their contracts include a set price for picking up the option.

Giddens 1,100,640
Walker 854,389

Finally, Sergio Rodriguez is a restricted free agent.

Rodriguez 2,805,888

Like Nate Robinson and David Lee last summer, the Knicks can keep Rodriguez by making a qualifying offer — in Rodriguez’ case, $2.8 million. Or, as they did with Lee and Robinson, they could cut a deal for more. Ted Nelson suggests that Rodriguez has more bargaining power than most restricted free agents, since he could probably play in Spain, tax-free, for $5 million or more.  Of course, he may want to stay on the New York stage, even if it means accepting less money.

Where will the cap fall? It depends on who you ask, but bet on a number between $51 million and $56 million. A maximum starting salary is 30% of the cap, or in the $15-17 million range. In other words, the Knicks COULD probably sign two max free agents – if they’re willing to renounce David Lee, and fill out the roster with minimum salary guys. Or, they could sign LeBron James, give $9 million to Lee and have $6-8 million left for additional free agents, or to absorb salary in trades.

Another number to keep in mind: players are allowed annual raises of 10.5%.  The Knicks could start Lee at $8 million, and by including maximum raises, make it a 6-year deal for a total of $60.6 million.  Teams signing other teams’ free agents are only allowed to make a 5-year offer.

Let the arguments begin!

*For the roster charge, I used (6 x the rookie minimum of $473,604). By league rules, the Knicks must carry at least 12 players on the roster, so technically, with only 4 under contract, the roster charge going into the offseason is 8 x $473,604  (or $3.8 million).  However, for every free agent we sign, the roster charge goes down by one player. What we’re really trying to figure out is: can the Knicks sign LeBron James and Dwyane Wade? To do that math, we only need figure on 6 remaining roster slots.

— additional design and inspiration by Thomas B.

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61 thoughts to “Can We Do Two? (Or, “Where’s My Cap At?”)”

  1. what are the rules about resigning McGrady specifically? obviously he’ll be renounced, but then what would the minimum salary be to bring him back?

  2. @Jon Abbey, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the veteran’s minimum is a little more than $810,000. So that’s what they could give McGrady, even though I’m sure he could get more than that if he went elsewhere.

    My question in all of this comes down to whether or not the Knicks can acquire two max players and still keep Lee. Obviously, there would have to be some kind of sign and trade deal to go down, but I always thought keeping your own players could be done because you can over the cap when you do that. However, now that Thomas is bringing up having to renounce a player in order to get rid of their cap hold, I’m assuming that retaining David Lee is just not possible.

  3. The veteran’s minimum is actually an example of one of the cooler features of the current CBA.

    The veteran’s minimum for a player of T-Mac’s experience (anything over ten years in the league) is $1,352,181 in 2010-11.

    However, the league has this deal where teams only have to pay the minimum for players with two years experience ($854,389) and the league actually pays the difference. This is to keep teams from shying away from veterans in favor of younger players simply because the younger players are cheaper.

    I just don’t know if that difference in salary also shows up on the salary cap (you would almost have to think so, wouldn’t you? As if the point is to not make it tougher for teams to sign veterans, then salary cap considerations have to play into it, as well, no?).

    Another thing to consider about exceptions is the fact that if the Knicks do use them, then it will be cutting into their 2011 cap room, to the point where it seems like they’d be less likely to simply let Curry’s contract expire and get a free agent with that cap room, as that cap room will be decreased if the Knicks end up signing free agents for a million dollars each (remember, the Knicks would have a looooooot of open rosters spots if they sign two max free agents, something like nine open spots – and the $31 million in current cap space is based on those other spots being roughly $400,000 each, for a rough total of $4 million. If you start doubling that, then your cap room from Curry goes from $11 million to $7 million – and at that point, you might be better off trading Curry for an impact player rather than trying to use that $7 million, especially because if you trade Curry, you’d go over the cap and would be able to use the mid-level exception, which is roughly $7 million anyways!.

  4. One other thing to consider – the buyout of Eddy Curry. In a player’s option year, they can be bought out for half their contract. Although it’s unlikely that Curry would accept that much less, he could take $1M or so off – since he would make that much signing with another team. The question will be how eager Curry is to revive his career vs his inner Marbury telling him he deserves every penny.

  5. I’d put the odds of Lee returning at better than 50-50. If LeBron and Wade (or LeBron and Bosh) accept the recruiting pitch, and come to New York, there’s just no money left for Lee. In any other scenario, there’s plenty. Let’s say they sign LeBron — that leaves about $16 million. Personally, I think if LeBron were en route they could reel in Lee for less than $10 million. I guess they could give that money to Stoudemire, or Boozer, or Johnson, but I think Lee would be a more economical choice. By now, I think Walsh and D’Antoni are in the fan club.

    Of course, this assumes Lee wants to stay. I don’t think it would require much financial sacrifice. Starting at $8 million, the Knicks can offer a $60 million deal. I know there are lots of bidders, but I have a hard time seeing many offers of $70-plus million.

    The scary team is Miami – they have as much cap room as the Knicks, and instead of a base trio of Gallinari/Chandler/Curry, they have Wade/Beasley/Chalmers.

    re: McGrady, if the Knicks really want him back they would have to re-sign him before they renounce him — simple enough, if both sides are on the same page. You can’t judge the market until we see him on the court for a while, but unless he plays like he did five years ago, I think the price tag will be somewhere in the $5-9 million range. In a way he is a guy with huge upside, but teams are not gonna like that injury history, and they’ll remember that Houston basically paid him to go away.

  6. Considering how tight the budget is, even $1 million in savings from a Curry buyout could be a big help – get you that extra rotation player, like Grant Hill. But I don’t know how likely it is — I won’t be surprised if we never see Curry on an NBA court again.

  7. I think everyone is overplaying the fact that we will have 6-7 minumum salary players… We all know D Antoni’s rotation is 7-8 players deep. Which means a roster of the following with crap players at the back end can work

    PG Segio
    SG Tmac
    SF James
    PF Gallinari
    C Bosh / Lee

    Curry ??

    just typing that gives me the chills… however we would be a very small team.

  8. Doesn’t it seem like it would be smarter to hold onto Curry’s expiring contract and trade it for something useful, like, say a starting PG or a defensive presence in the frontcourt? Surely there must be teams who will be looking to get under the cap in 2011.

  9. Doesn’t it seem like it would be smarter to hold onto Curry’s expiring contract and trade it for something useful, like, say a starting PG or a defensive presence in the frontcourt? Surely there must be teams who will be looking to get under the cap in 2011.

    That’s where I’m leaning, yes.

  10. Personally, I think Lee is gone unless we break up the second max contract between two high quality players (one of which is Lee) or we don’t sign James, Wade or Bosh. Of course the latter scenario calls the entire trade into question because we could have simply waited until 2011 until Jeffries and Curry came off the cap to sign or trade for second tier all star caliber quality players. Then we could have kept Hill and the draft picks as assets. From a long term perspective, IMO, the only way this trade even makes sense is if we make a move in 2010 that we could not have made in 2011 anyway.

    Also, to be honest, I can’t see Lebron coming to NY to play with Lee, Chandler, Gallo, Douglas, and Sergio. That’s not even close to a championship caliber team. He’d be better off staying with the Cavs. I could see him at least “considering” coming here to play with Lee, Chandler, Gallo, Douglas and T-MAC assuming T-MAC’s debut was an indication of his sustainable level of play, he doesn’t get hurt, and he’s willing to sign cheaply.

    So if we could sign T-MAC at a huge discount, it would look like this:

    Lee – C
    SF/PF – various combinations of Gallo, Chandler, and James
    SG – T-MAC
    PG – Sergio

    That’s still probably not a championship caliber team because of the defensive weakness in the paint with Lee at C. However, with Curry being an expiring contract we might be able to take on a multi year contract for a real C in a trade for him (Dalembert?) with someone looking to save money. Then it looks like this:

    C – Dalembert/Other (provides defense, shotblocking, and covers for Lee’s poor defense)
    PF – Lee (back at a more natural position for his size)
    SF – James
    SG – T- Mac
    PG – Sergio

    Bench – Gallo, Chandler, and Douglas

    That’s a TEAM!

  11. I’m far from sold on the notion of a T-Mac return at this point. The thing with microfractures is durability. Yeah, he came out and played one very nice game. Question is: Can he do it night in, night out over a sustained period of time? Time will tell — but I have my doubts.

    I actually think Sergio has a better chance of sticking for next season.

  12. I”m not sold on T-MAC either, but I’m more sold now than I was last week. My perception last week was that he was on a decline before surgery and surgery could only set him back further. That basically made him useless other than any entertainment value we got this year while he attempted to secure a new contract elsewhere for next year. Now, I see him as a “potential” asset. If it doesn’t work out, so be it. In my mind, he’s aleady a pleasant surprise after one game because potential is better than nothing.

  13. I agree with Brian and JK47 that Curry is more valuable as an expiring contract. Unless maybe he’s willing to take close to the full 50% cut. The $1 mill savings probably makes little difference. The veteran’s minimum is more than that. The one way it maybe helps is if the Knicks sign a max guy, bring back Lee for $10 mill or something, and then want to sign a guy for, say, $7 mill instead of $6 mill. If the Knicks had any picks this century to trade with Curry they could get a good player for him. As is it’s a bit of a roll of the dice: is some team that desperate for cap space or to just get rid of someone? (How did the Warriors turn down Mayo AND Thabeet for Monta Ellis, by the way? Who is in charge there?)

    How does the cap number work in terms of Lee with an $8 mill starting salary and a 6 yr 60 mill deal overall? It just deals with the particular year in question?


    Why do you say the Knicks would have to re-sign McGrady before renouncing him?


    Bringing back Sergio and T-Mac is next to impossible if you bring in James and Bosh, and both is probably not too likely if you bring in James and re-sign Lee. Certainly possible that both take significantly less money to stay in NY, but I wouldn’t count on it.

    I don’t think anyone is TOO worried about several minimum guys. Caleb was just pointing out the cap realities. Everyone is just wondering how the roster will be filled out and realizing that at least a couple of the minimum guys will have to be contributors, even if as limited role players like Eddie House or something.

  14. how do you guys feel about possibly bringing eddie house back next year once the dust settles. i really like the veteran leadership he showed on sat night and maybe he could have a reneissance of sort with d’antoni

  15. How does the cap number work in terms of Lee with an $8 mill starting salary and a 6 yr 60 mill deal overall? It just deals with the particular year in question?

    Yes, it just deals with the first year. So if he makes just $8 million in the first year then he would count as $8 million against the cap, rather than the average salary over the term of the contract.

  16. how do you guys feel about possibly bringing eddie house back next year once the dust settles. i really like the veteran leadership he showed on sat night and maybe he could have a reneissance of sort with d’antoni

    If he’s available for the minimum, sure. Who doesn’t want Eddie House on your team as a bench player?

  17. stratomatic,

    Dalembert is a FA same time as Curry. So is Tyson Chandler. Warriors wouldn’t take Mayo and Thabeet for Ellis reportedly, so I don’t see why they take nothing but cap space for Biedrins. Someone suggested Turiaf and Radmonovic recently. Elton Brand would definitely be a possibility, but… better to wait till 2011 and sign a Dalembert, Chandler, or Kirilenko.

    As I said to Garson, not sure Knicks can afford Lee, James, T-Mac, and Sergio. If they play well the rest of the season it will take T-Mac and/or Sergio taking significantly less money than they could get elsewhere. If T-Mac plays the way he did in the opener… or anywhere close… you have to figure one of the many teams with cap space that loses out elsewhere will throw a fat short-term contract at him (2 yrs 16 mill or something). Sergio will get a nice offer in Europe, especially if he kills it for D’Antoni. I believe Childress makes more than $10 mill per in NBA money (something like $6 mill total) since he’s paid net of taxes… Sergio might not make that much, but 1/2 that is a big deal for the Knicks. $5 mill for Sergio would mean $4 mill for T-Mac or something like that. Maybe they do take less to stay, just saying I don’t know how likely it is.

  18. “Why do you say the Knicks would have to re-sign McGrady before renouncing him?”

    My bad, I thought there was a waiting period if they technically “renounced” him, but according to Larry Coon, there is not. Bottom line: The Knicks can re-sign McGrady, if both sides agree on a number.

    “How does the cap number work in terms of Lee with an $8 mill starting salary and a 6 yr 60 mill deal overall? It just deals with the particular year in question?”

    Right, each year stands on its own. If Lee starts at $8 million, he only counts $8 million on the 2010-2011 cap, regardless of what happens afterwards. The rest would look like this:
    2010-2011: $8 million
    2011-2012: 8.84 million
    2012-2013: 9.68 million
    2013-2014: 10.52 million
    2014-2015: 11.36 million
    2015-2016: 12.20 million

    The “loophole” aspect is addressed by the 10.5% limit on annual raises (not compounding). Without that proviso, you’d sign him for $2 million this year, $2 million next year and $25 million for 2012-2013. Etc.

  19. I would be for bringing back House- but he will be too expensive.
    I think it’s safe to say that target #1 would be James. An excellent point was made that Bosh is much closer to James’ age than Wade, therefore, you’d have to think (also due to positional need) that if we were to go the “2 max free agent” route, it would be with James and Bosh. I would be happy with this since Bosh has really upped his game this year. Of course, that leaves you with very little: Douglas, Chandler, James, Gallo, Bosh, a few 2nd round draft picks, maybe a vet at around the minimum, and some D-leaguers.
    Of course at the deadline in 2011, we could flip Curry for some average talent to go with that.
    If James wants to play with a core of Lee, Gallo, Douglas and Chandler, that gives us a little more coin to play with. We could use a pg and a center, but if we have James, that makes the pg spot less necessary (we could get by with Douglas there) even though we all like what we see from Sergio. And it’s tempting to go for T-Mac, but can T-Mac and Bron really co-exist on the same team? Don’t they both kind of need the ball in their hands? I would use the extra money on a defensive center (sadly, I don’t think D’Antoni agrees) like oh say, Marcus Camby. We could offer him an Andre Miller like contract – 6.3ish mil for 3 years. Then you have Douglas, Bron, Gallo, Lee, Camby with Chandler, some rookies and one more cheap vet maybe (House?)
    How much do you want to be Walshtoni drafts some older hidden euros with their 2nd rounders? Guys who could come right in and play like men?
    That’s a pretty competitive team. Championship? Hard to say. But the more you look at it, the harder it seems like we could actually work 2 max guys right out of the gate in 2010. It would be hard to field the rest of the team!
    Now if we strike out on the big three, we have a good thing going with T-mac. We could get him at a reasonable price – 5 mil over 3 yrs? Bring Lee back, get Camby, get Ginobli, get Sergio or Ridnour, and field a seasoned, competitve team- maybe a 5 to 8 seed depending on what happens with the rest of the east. Then you work the Curry contract and/or shoot for a player next year like Melo…

  20. Im not sure which comes first, draft or free agency and im not sure it matters.
    Surely Dumars must have realised he has a whole bunch of horrible contracts by now!! So what is the likelyhood of Curry for Pistons 2010 pick and one of their terrible contracts. would leave us horrendously thin at the four and five but if it meant even their second round thats still nearly a first rounder.
    If we took back either Hamilton or Gordon thats almost worth the rights to their 1st round pick.
    1st rounder may eat into the cap though.
    Would prefer Villanueva, Brown and a 2nd Rnd draft pick though.

    Okafor is an option also. I think straight up is fair. But then trading for Posey, draft rights and a filler isn’t a bad way of padding the roster either.

  21. C Villanueva
    PF Chandler
    SF LeBron
    SG Wade
    PG Rodgriguez

    Gallo, Maxiell, Douglas, Bender to the minimum?? If he stays healthy i would.

    Even if we resigned everyone that isn’t a bad trade.


    Douglas, Gallo, Harrington, House, Bender, Maxiell

    Thats not a completely horrendous squad in my opinion. As long as harrington’s minutes are limited he becomes a nice role player. We then become deep which is however not a necessity for a team coached by D’Antoni.

  22. I think Boston had already pick up the option for Walker and turned down the one for Giddens. At least from what I read in Boston sites.

    Taggart, Dumars will never give that lottery pick, but I actually can see he dumping Rip for nothing and I can see how Curry for Charlie V/Jason Maxwel work or your Okafor idea. Curry’s contract goes from burden to asset after june, but Donnie has to be careful, we can easily turn him into one or two guys that might help, but who depends a lot on what we can do this summer and a mistake can undo a lot of the recent work. The ideal would be find one or two players with two years contract from a team that needs to shed sallary now.

    As for House I think Knicks can have him back. He could certainly have got a 2m offer from Boston had he stayed there, but even if that is a fair value from him I have a hard time seeing anyone throwing one third of the MLE on him. So getting the vet minimum and staying in NY is possible (and I m pretty sure the producers of his son show would rather have him on a well known team like the Knicks than the grizzlies).

  23. I’ve said it a thousand times, but I would rather have LeBron and Wade than LeBron and Bosh. Bosh is making a case for himself this season, though, while Wade is struggling this season.

    Camby would be 38 the last season of a 3 year deal…

    One 2nd round prospect playing in Europe worth mentioning is Paulao Prestes, a 22 yr old Brazilian C. He doesn’t have too much upside, but as a second rounder could turn into a solid post defender. He plays on the worst team in the 1st division of Spain, though, a team that will therefore be a 2nd division team next season. So even reaching his modest ceiling might be a stretch.

    There are 3 eastern guys has listed in the 2nd round. Not too familiar with them. Alexey Shved is a big Russian guard who has been a prospect for a while, but couldn’t get minutes for CSKA. Playing for Dynamo Moscow now and playing more. Nemanja Bjelica and Miroslav Raduljica play on the Serbian national team–one of the most talented but most underachieving in the world– but I don’t know too much about them. Bjelica is supposed to be a soft 6-10 SF, Raduljica is a C.

    For my money I would be tempted to take a high upside guy in the 2nd like Lance Stephenson or Renardo Sidney (if Sidney played and Stephenson stayed they could be lottery picks… Both have serious character issues, but if LeBron comes you would have to hope he could help them reach their potential and if nothing else make them trade pieces after their rookie season). If Sherron Collins fell to the Knicks I would definitely take him, or I might even trade up for him in the early 2nd. I’m not too crazy about the depth in this draft, and really wouldn’t mind seeing the Knicks trade two top 10 2nd rounders to get up to NJ’s spot at the top of the 2nd and take the one guy they can’t believe wasn’t taken in the 1st… Then again, they could use the depth and taking 2 2nd rounders increases the odds that one is decent. I have to admit I don’t know the 2nd round prospects all that well.

    “we have a good thing going with T-mac. We could get him at a reasonable price – 5 mil over 3 yrs?”

    5 mill per or total?


    Dumars said before the deadline he’s not looking for cap space, and most of his history suggests he doesn’t really value flexibility. The one exception being the Billups-AI deal, and he quickly threw the space at the first two good players to walk through the door.
    Okafor maybe, but the Hornets have to at least look like they’re trying.


    re: House. Many teams (those that didn’t use it last year… I think Boston did on Daniels, don’t know who else) have a bi-annual exception worth just over $2 mill for next season. A capped-out contender might throw that at House, but who knows.

  24. “(those that didn’t use it last year… I think Boston did on Daniels, don’t know who else)”

    “Those that are capped out or close and didn’t use it last year” I should have said.

  25. But all GM’s say things like that in an attempt to keep their cards concealed. Perhaps your right and i have to confess to not really following the pistons at all, so i cannot argue the point. It does however make me very releived that i am not a Pistons fan!
    But at some point, if they continue to play poorly, ownership will undoubtably start to question the merits of having highly paid players that do not produce results. If it is one of the big contracts i think we can get draft picks. If it is CV and Maxiell then i think that Curry and Walker is a fair offer. Although, as you will well notice, they do not receive a lot of usable talent in that deal. But the knicks have very little in the way of talent to offer at the moment.

  26. I guess instead of saying what Dumars said I should say what he did, which is not trade any of those guys for expiring contracts.

    You are right that the Knicks don’t have much talent to offer, but other teams do. Dumars doesn’t mind admitting his mistakes and has traded lottery picks away after their rookie seasons. However, the only Piston I would say is seriously overpaid is Rip Hamilton. Ben Gordon is struggling (largely because he’s a career 41% 3-pt shooter only hitting 31% of his 3s) and a bit overpaid, but he’s similar to Kevin Martin. Sacramento got cap space and Carl Landry for Martin despite his being overpaid and one dimensional. Chuck makes as much money next season as Jared Jeffries… shouldn’t be too hard to move (takes more 3s than Gordon, though, which really has to stop). They’re both still young.

    Pistons are seriously under-performing, so a nice shake-up would be nice. Could be bad luck and a lot of guys just having the worst shooting seasons of their careers, but that seems like quite a coincidence… Maybe they just need a PG, because Stuckey looks like a 4th or 5th guard…

    Anyway, Rip Hamilton is the first guy I would look to get rid of (Stuckey #2). They may or may not get much more than cap space for him, but I’m not too crazy about him coming to the Knicks. I think they can get more than just cap space should they choose to move Gordon or Chuck.

  27. The Pistons are under the cap, so there’s no reason for them to jettison players for cap space (especially players who can play for a player who can’t play).

    Orlando, though, is over the luxury tax threshold through 2013. They have $50 million committed to three bench players (Bass, Gortat, Pietrus). If they stumble in the playoffs, Otis Smith may look to cut the price of his team down a bit.

  28. Some interesting 2nd round prospects would be Scottie Reynolds, Kemba Walker (if he chooses to go), Grevis Vasquez, Jerome Dyson, and Kalin Lucas just to name a few (they’re all guards, I know). Maybe we can get Kemba Walker and Lance Stephenson as both are from NYC, have loads of talent, and it makes for a great storyline. I feel they would be steals in the 2nd round, as both have lottery potential.

  29. and Darko Milicic’s stat line was REALLY impressive for 19 minutes and the expectations he now has.

  30. Z,

    Don’t think the issue with Darko has ever been talent so much as attitude. I mean he doesn’t have the talent to warrant a #2 pick, especially ahead of the guys he was picked ahead of, but he’s got the talent to play in the NBA. He played like crap for the Knicks, though, and then instead of working to get back into the rotation cried about how he’s going home to mommy and no one likes his corny iced tip hairdo in the US. For as much crap as Nate takes when he was benched he didn’t say “this is so unfair I am going back to Seattle where the coffee high masses can appreciate my energetic style of play.”

    I am not so crazy about using +/- to judge player on individual games. It’s hard enough over a larger sample. Darko played well and perhaps the combo of he and Love dominating the boards and scoring from the 4 and 5 really helped Minni (didn’t see the game). However, if some Marcus Landry (as much as I like him) is on the court when the Knicks are down by 30 and Nate goes off for 40 pts in a quarter he’s going to look good even if he does next to nothing.

    Not sure what Kurt Rambis is on anyway… His backups are generally better than his starters. Maybe he’s just Kahn’s wipping boy, or maybe it’s revenge of the NBA nerd. I’ll take Love over AJ, Love or AJ or Darko over Hollins, Wilkins v. Brewer/Gomes and Sessions v. Flynn are toss ups.

  31. “Camby would be 38 the last season of a 3 year deal…”

    Well, Camby’s not a long term solution, and you would probably have to go to a 3rd year to get him because he’s such a good defender. He seems like the ideal post player to put next to Lee (if you keep Lee.) He makes you competitive right away. Unless you can think of a better option? Maybe a cap related trade for Okafor… I don’t see us getitng Gortat. I just don’t see a Gallo/Chandler/LBJ next to Lee at center as a workable defensive backcourt.
    As far as T-Mac goes, I would think someone would give him something around a midlevel contract.
    I too would like to see the Knicks trade up for one high 2nd or low 1st.
    I would love to snag Collins.

  32. I don’t think Sergio can get 5 million dollars in europe. Navarro, who is a proved veteran makes just a little more than 1 million € (and I believe it is the best paid player in the ACB)

  33. re: 29,

    I think it would have made some sense for Detroit to get under the cap THIS offseason, but that ship has sailed and Dumars wasn’t on it. So, you’re right. Could clear more cap space to really go after it again in offseason 2011, but probably not giving up talent for cap space until the deadline.

    Good point about Orlando. Gortat could be the true C the Knicks need if things go according to plan and Bass is a solid rotation player. Waiting for a Chandler, Dalembert, or even Kirilenko in 2011 might be a better option, but a bird in the hand…


    Yeah, should be some good guards in the 2nd. I don’t know them that well to comment.

  34. the possibility I still don’t see being broached here is that if LeBron and another max level guy agree to come to NY, they’ll take less than max deals so that Walsh can better build around them. I think this has an even better chance of happening since the Jeffries move, and I honestly wouldn’t even rule out LeBron/Wade/Bosh, all starting at $10M apiece. that was the rumor that they agreed on in Beijing, and Walsh has made it as possible as it’s ever going to be under this CBA.

  35. ess-dog,

    I like Camby a lot as a possible signing, just saying that he’s old to be paying $6 mill to in 3 years.

    Camby may be the best option, but I’m just saying at his age maybe not. Chandler, Dalembert, and Kirilenko are all defensive specialists who are FAs in 2011. None is necessarily any surer than Camby, but younger anyway. Haywood is another FA option, also don’t know if he’s any better. Shaq’s another option–if the Knicks sign LeBron and/or Wade–who might take the minimum for one last shot at a ring + playing time. Depends on how he got along with D’Antoni and possibly LeBron and/or Wade I suppose. Przybilla can opt out, but would be looking to replace or beat his $7.5 mill due next season. I think Gortat is somewhat likely, maybe the Knicks would have to give up one of their 2nds, but he’s rotting on Orlando’s bench.

    I don’t see it as a good defensive frontcourt, either. Would be about being a top 5 offense and working on the defense over time. (Knicks are 15th offense and 24th defense in the NBA right now.)

  36. BTW, we can go over the cap filling everything and then working a S&T with D. Lee’s bird rights. And I think it would be our best option.

    So let’s say we make the qualifying offer for Sergio, sign Lebron, sign T-Mac for 2 Million and Eddie House for 2 Million. That would leave the 10.5 million cap hold of David Lee. Then we could S&T Lee for Bosh; if Bosh decides to leave (and i think NY, Miami and Chicago is too much to pass), Toronto will be happy to get Lee in return.


    Sergio / Douglas
    T-Mac / House
    Lebron / ¿?¿?¿?
    Gallo / Chandler
    Bosh / ¿?¿?¿?

    Not a bad 8 man rotation (although if Bosh gets injured we run into problems)

    This would be a nice option if David Lee commands a salary in the 12-13 million range. If Lee accepts a contract starting on 8 million, i’d try to keep him and throw the rest at Camby, which may sign at less salary than other teams offer for good opportunity to get a ring.

    Sergio / Douglas
    T-Mac / House
    Lebron / Chandler
    Lee / Gallo
    Camby / ¿?¿?¿?

    Eddy Curry’s contract could be thrown in the S&T for salaries to match

  37. @28
    You make a good point about the cap situation in Detroit.
    They are not that far over but seem to be paying slightly above average players a lot of money. Perhaps a more considered assessment would be that they are being over paid by 2 mill and have contracts that are 2 yrs too long (Rip, Gordon, Maxiell). It is a fruitless task getting into the ramifications and possibilities of deals that would work and i don’t want to get into that too much as we have covered that an awful lot lately.
    Although i have hashed through a few possibilities on the Trade Machine and don’t want to bore everyone with the results. It does seem as though Curry’s contract is eminantly more movable than i thought it was. A deal involving the Pistons aquiring Gomes, Chandler, Sessions and Blount as relief works. We then get Villanueva in return as well as filler (Wilcox/Maxiell??).
    Curry to the Sixers and the Clippers getting Igoudala works too especially if we sweeten the deal with Chandler as a semi replacement. I think Igoudala would be a great fit for the Clips (Davies, Iggy, Griffin, Kaman et al) and the Sixers would undoubtably buyout Curry instantly. The Knicks would receive expirings from LA and therefore could possibly resign Lee. I know the major flaws in this deal. Sixers don’t get enough talent. Clips have to be convinced they are not in the running for a big FA. But i still think it makes sense for all teams involved. Hell i would throw Douglas in to further sweeten the deal.
    It did worry me, that even if we did sign ‘2 Max’, the team would become very Bostonish and have very little else of value. However with the looming CBA changes it is perhaps possible for us to get nice pieces for Curry.

  38. iserp,

    From Wikipedia: “On June 18, 2008, Navarro officially signed a five-year deal worth €14 million euros net income with Barça, reuniting with his old team prior to his arrival in the NBA.”

    That’s Euros and it’s net of taxes. As of today that’s 19 million USD, or $3.8 mill per year. (At the time it was signed it was closer to 23 or 24 million USD.) If you assume a 40% tax rate that’s the equivalent of about $6.33 mill per year. At the time he signed it that may have been close to $8 mill per year in NBA equivalent (and maybe more when you factor in double taxation for a Spanish national playing in the US).

    Only a few teams in Spain can make that kind of offer (maybe only 2–Barca and Real Madrid–but probably Vitoria and maybe Malaga and a couple of others). Barca has Rubio at PG and is the best team in Spain, so not going to happen unless they push Rubio to Minnesota to get a long-term deal with Sergio. Madrid has a good veteran PG in Pablo Prigioni (Argentina), but he’s 33 and they might jump on Sergio… especially since they are decidedly behind not only arch-rival Barca but also Vitoria this season. Their star scoring guard, Louis Bullock of Michigan fame, is also not getting any younder… so maybe time to shuffle the deck. Their football team is well known for going after any big name star they can get. Greek and Russian teams tend to throw around more money than Spanish, if Sergio is just looking for a pay day.

    Anyway, even if a team offers Sergio 1/2 the deal La Bomba got… that’s $3 mill per the Knicks have to compete with. Twice the minimum salary. Just saying it’s a x-factor the Knicks have to consider/deal with.

    JCN was also pretty blunt in his desire to play in Spain, where he’s one of the best players if not the best… I don’t know how Sergio feels about the US vs. Spain. JCN is from the Barcelona metro area and literally plays at home, whereas Sergio is from Mallorca and would be very unlikely to sign with their team. He did basically grow up playing for Estudiantes in Madrid, though, so a Real offer might feel like going home (might also hate Real having played for Estudiantes, not exactly comparable but Fernando Torres said he would never play for Real having grown up with Atletico Madrid). He spends at least part of his time in the offseason in Madrid: I’ve seen him out there. I would guestimate that Real Madrid is the front-runner to sign him of Spanish teams.

  39. check… Sergio is from Tenerife… knew it was a Spanish island.

    Gran Canaria has a 1st division team, but they’re not going to sign Sergio in his prime. Canaries are nice, but if I’m Sergio in my mid-20s I’d rather live in Madrid anyway.

  40. jon,

    It’s a possibility, but hard to speculate on. It would be completely unprecedented. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but if two of them can sign together for 50+% more it just seems like they’ll take that… And could all 3 sign in Miami for maxes (read that somewhere), or is that not possible?

    Would be amazing if all 3 did that (and NYC was the destination). Almost unfair. The rest of the league would be up in arms.

  41. Hi Mike and other Knickerbloggers,

    A lot of analysis I read about where LBJ will sign next year center on salary cap space and supporting cast. I think there may be other factors for LBJ to consider like coaching, general management and his team’s ability to attract veteran FA talent.

    I would love to see an analysis that included the strength of the coaches in the respective possible destinations (I don’t think Cleveland’s coach is that good), the GM’s ability to be creative and get construct a team that is acceptable to LBJ (so far Danny Ferry hasn’t fared very well) and are veteran FAs willing to go up to Cleveland to play (so far all the good vets they acquired came via trades – Mo Williams, Shaq, Jamison)?

    Let me know your thoughts.

  42. One underrated positive about this is that, for the first time in years, the Knicks offseason can actually be filled with “maybe they can get ____” or “how about ____?”

    The last Knick offseason that the Knicks had enough flexibility to make a move to improve their roster was 2002 (before that it was 2000), and the famed 1996 offseason was really the last season comparable to this one. We didn’t have sites like Knickerblogger back in 1996, so it’s fun to re-live those experiences now!

  43. Ted,

    OK, i just looked in a web, and that was probably his salary before he came to the NBA. But come on, i think Sergio would be lucky if any team in Spain offered him 500.000 €. And OK, let’s say Madrid or Barça goes mad at Sergio even though he hasn’t played regularly and he is not going to national team anymore (I know he renounced to go to the national team, but he wasn’t going anyhow), and offer him 1.5 million €, which should be 3 million $ before taxes, etc… That’s his qualifying offer!

    If he plays mildly good, some team is going to offer him more than the minimum, and if not, why do you want in your team?

    The bad part is that if he plays really good, some team could offer him serious money, and the timing of the signings would be crucial to retain Sergio.

    And truth to be told, i don’t think Sergio wants to come back to Spain unless he is stuck in the bench for another year or two (like this last 2 and a half seasons). He wasn’t that kind of star in Spain, he isn’t missing the stardom; and i don’t think he has a spanish wife and kids like JCN did (well, i am not sure, hehe).

  44. I T-Mac plays anywhere near the level he did last night there’s no way he’s going to re-sign for anywhere near the minimum- he’s 30 yrs old and looking at his last chance for a decent payday (I think someone will pony up a 3 year 20-25 million dollar deal and possibly more which means he’d be leaving 18+ million on the table). That said, he did really breakdown after losing in the first round 2 years ago so maybe he really does want to win badly enough to give up that kind of money. Maybe he does take a low enough salary to allow us to sign LeBron, keep Lee, and still bring back House & Sergio.

    My hope now is that Chandler plays lights out the rest of the way and we can move him for an athletic shot-blocking 4 to pair with Lee- maybe Anthony Randolph if he continues to drive Nelly crazy? It’s going to have to be someone on a rookie contract to make the $’s work. I don’t think Lee’s defensive problems are going to be solved by moving him to PF- he’s going to get killed off of the dribble and I think he’ll be less effective on the offensive end if he’s guarded by quicker guys.

    So you’d have
    pg Sergio
    sg T-Mac
    sf Lebron
    pf Randolph or someone similar (maybe Gallo starts here and you bring defensive help off the bench as needed).
    c Lee

    Is that a championship team? You’d need T-Mac at at least 90% and for Gallo to really take a big step forward and be serious 6th man of the year candidate. And I think you’d need whoever you’re trading Chandler for to be able to make a pretty serious contribution right away but it’s possible.

  45. Jafa,

    I think those are considerations, sure. Probably come into play after the money and supporting cast, though. Coaches and GMs are replaced almost constantly, so the coach/GM combo he signs with may not be there in 2 years. Good coaches are more common than amazing teammates–Wade for example–but if he’s looking at a slight difference in talent and the same money then maybe the coach/GM makes a big difference.

    Hard for both Mike Brown and Danny Ferry to be bad at their jobs and the Cavs to win 60 games. Either they have no talent around LeBron and are overachieving, or they’re poorly coached and have the talent to make up for it. Mike Brown is not amazing, but he’s a good defensive coach and somehow manages to get 60 wins and deep playoff runs every season with the supposedly talentless (outside LeBron) Cavs. Ferry is not a terrible GM, but also not great. He seems to have improved. He did attract one of the top free agents on the market to Cleveland, but it was a weak market and that FA was Larry Hughes. That signing really screwed Cleveland over. Hughes got 1/3 of their cap. They weren’t a player in free agency again because they were capped out. I think Walsh is a better executive, but if you talk long-term Walsh might only have a couple of more years, while Ferry is much younger. Once Walsh retires there’s no obvious replacement that I know of besides… gulp… D’Antoni (who is a 10x worse GM than Ferry).


    Very true.


    Let me first say, as I commented earlier, that a friend of mine is the top American scout for a good German team (not an amazing league, but his job is to scout and sign American players for a European team) and he thinks Sergio will get 5 mill USD or more a year net. So, that’s part of where I’m coming from.

    I don’t know how much he’ll get, but I think it can be more than 500,000 euros if money is what motivates him (he can always go to Greece or Russia). Maybe in the worst case: he stinks for the Knicks and the top few Spanish teams have no interest and the recession in Spain is killing the other clubs. Good veteran players in Spain make 1 mill euros per from figures I’ve seen, though.

    1.5mm euros is–according to my back of the napkin calculations–about $3.3 mill in NBA salary or more when accounting for double taxation. That’s half a million dollars more per year.

    It all comes down to his preferences, though. Maybe he takes a one or two year NBA deal to stay with D’Antoni, prove he’s a starting NBA PG, and get paid like one. Maybe he wants the comfort of a long-term deal. Maybe he’s siked to be in NYC, or maybe he’s ready to get back to Spain… I really have no idea. Not being on the Spanish national team is a factor I hadn’t considered. I do think a European team will make him a nice offer that he can use as leverage, even if he prefers to stay in the NBA. If he’s looking at $2 mill in US or the equivalent of $5 mill in Spain… hard to pass up all that money. Guys like Carlos Delfino have bolted for the money even if they were doing alright in the States.

    “He wasn’t that kind of star in Spain, he isn’t missing the stardom”

    He was a rising star: he literally won the 2005 Rising Star Award. His last season in Spain he was 19 and playing on a good team (which has been a lot worse since losing first Felipe Reyes then Sergio and Carlos Jimenez… but they were in the Finals the year before Sergio came up to the sr team). Had he stayed in Europe he would have likely gotten picked up by Real, Barca, Tau (now Caja Laboral), Unicaja Malaga… etc. Just like Estudiantes other top young players Reyes (to Madrid) and Jimenez (to Unicaja). He would have had a shot at stardom (might have blown it), and he would have had a shot at getting paid like a star (in Spanish basketball terms).

    I think he will be a very good player in Spain. He’s a great playmaker and really quick. His shot has gradually improved since he’s been in the NBA (at 19 in Spain he shot 32% from 3 and 63% from 2… good for a TS% of 61.6%. He can be one of the top PGs in Spain, definitely.

    One factor I forgot with Madrid is Sergio Llull… no idea what his contract status is. If he doesn’t come to the NBA, Madrid might not care to make a play for Sergio Rodriguez. If Tiago leaves for the NBA finally Vitoria will have some cash free. Ribas + Huertas is a solid combo, but Sergio is better than either.

  46. nicos,

    Lee played PF for several years in the NBA, you don’t have to speculate on how he’d fair as a PF. Lee is a weak help defender. Generally the 5 position defensively is the last line of defense, Lee is just not capable in that role. He needs a 5 next to him who can take physical post players and help out. He wasn’t a plus defender at the 4, but also wasn’t a big liability.

  47. Anthony Randolph might not be the worst complement to Lee, by the way, but there are a lot of ifs: if they can get him and if he gets/keeps his act together.

  48. let’s face it when we sign two max contracts say goodbye to Lee then we can sign a big that can rebound and block shots. in the game against the bucks the knicks got killed on the glass, no big man presence whatsoever. can somebody answer this for me, we will have about $31 million of cap space, and we will sign two max contracts, that would be $30 million, then do we only have a million left to fill 6 roster spots???

  49. Ted- I know Lee isn’t nearly as bad defensively at the 4 but he’s hardly a stopper. I’m just trying to think of someone realistic that you can pair with Lee that can defend the rim cost-effectively. My assumption here is that signing LBJ, T-Mac and Lee brings us pretty much up to the cap. That leaves the knicks with 3 assets to find someone to pair with Lee- trade Gallo or Chandler (which means your most likely taking back someone still on their rookie contract) or trade Curry. Can the Knicks maybe use Curry’s contract to get a 5 like Chandler or Okafor or Dalembert? Probably (almost certainly if theor willing to wait til the trade deadline), but you’re going to be tying up a lot of money going forward for a guy you’re basically looking for one thing out of- defend the paint. Camby’s a possibility, but probably only possible if T-Mac’s out of the picture (all of this assuming LBJ is coming of course). If you can think of a true five who’d make a great pairing with Lee who’s affordable and who they have a realistic shot at getting I’d love to hear it. I’d rather see them go after Randolph (a big if, I know) or even a guy like Ibaka who can really rotate, block some shots, run the floor and hit the offensive glass. Or of course there is another option- one that looks better after tonight’s game anyway- forget about Lee altogether.

  50. “Lee is a weak help defender. Generally the 5 position defensively is the last line of defense, Lee is just not capable in that role. He needs a 5 next to him who can take physical post players and help out.”

    This really isn’t Lee’s fault. It’s D’Antoni’s. There was a 5 D’Antoni could have put next to him who could take physical post players and help out. That guy’s now playing in Minnesota, getting 8 points and 8 rebounds in his 19 minutes (about as many minutes as he saw in his entire tenure with the Knicks (and I don’t think any of his Knick minutes came with him on the floor with Lee)). D’Antoni refuses to play Lee at PF with a traditional center, so don’t waste time thinking of which traditional center to bring in. Whoever Donnie brings in would just sit on the bench watching Andrew Bogut put up career numbers against Lee, a look of confusion on his face…

  51. nicos,

    That assumes the Knicks can get LeBron and then want to/can keep Lee and McGrady. Tough to get too far ahead as far as what they’ll need this offseason… totally depends on what they actually do.

    If you’ve got an offensive player like LeBron complemented with a Wade/Bosh/Lee and shooters like Gallo, Toney Douglas, whoever else… interior defense becomes something I would pay any price possible to get. That group looks really good offensively, but weak defensively. Interior defense is not that easy to come by. It’s not like you’re looking for a back-up PG or a 3 pt specialist. Defense is fully 1/2 the game and the 5 is generally regarded as the single most crucial position defensively. Once (if) you have LeBron, Wade/Bosh/Lee + T-Mac, Gallo, Douglas… what else are you going to spend $10 million on? An interior defender would be my most important priority.

    Chandler and Dalembert both expire in 2011. They will be free agents then, as will Kirilenko (who would fit into the Randolph role you envision). The Knicks can try to use the cap space from Curry’s expiring deal to land one of them. They don’t necessarily have to trade for them (unless they sign extensions, especially unlikely in Dalembert’s case but maybe if he’s traded).

    “If you can think of a true five who’d make a great pairing with Lee who’s affordable and who they have a realistic shot at getting I’d love to hear it. I’d rather see them go after Randolph (a big if, I know) or even a guy like Ibaka who can really rotate, block some shots, run the floor and hit the offensive glass.”

    The problem with a Lee/Randolph frontcourt on a team with championship aspirations is that they’ll get eaten up by a true center. Every real contender right now has a center who can bang down low on both ends. LA: Bynum (maybe Randolph can check Pau, but he might eat them alive too), Clev: Shaq and probably Z if/when he resigns, Orl: Howard and to a lesser extent Gortat, Atl: Horford, Den: Nene, Bos: Perkins… Over the course of the season you can sneak around those guys, but in the playoffs they are unavoidable. Most of them are under 25 (only Clev’s 2 and Nene who is 27)… they’re not going anywhere soon. They play on good teams that will find that mismatch and exploit it.
    You can make up for that in other areas, but you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage. The chances of getting through a team with a top flight 5 in the 2nd round, ECF, and Finals… not good.

    I’m not going to speculate on who the Knicks should get, but they at least need a legitimate defensive 5-man on the bench.

    Guys like Randolph and Ibaka also are valuable to their own teams. I would not trade Randolph for Chandler if I were GS. Chandler is an entirely more common commodity (athletic scorer on the wing) and a year closer to getting paid. I think GS could get more if they choose to move Randolph. Also not sure I would move Ibaka for Chandler. He’s only 20 years old. He’s 6-10, a strong rebounder, and plays as much at C as anyone else on the #3 defense in the NBA. His offense needs work, but he’s good defensively.
    In a few years those guys like be paid just as much as Dalembert, Chandler and the rest of them anyway.

    I think the best outcome for the Knicks is to find their own Ibaka through the draft (without reaching for every bigman they can… not that they have too many picks to try with). Or to just make the right move (trade or FA) when it comes along, whether that’s for Randolph, Ibaka, Chandler, Dalembert, Camby, Haywood…


    Disagree that Darko deserved to play (he was bad when he did play as a Knick and publicly showed a bad attitude after getting benched), but otherwise it’s a good point. If D’Antoni gets LeBron I think he has to adapt his style somewhat. Hopefully LeBron, a wingman, and some shooters all playing 1-4 will be enough for D’Antoni to play a real 5. Has to be a good player, though, and to an extent I agree with D’Antoni that feeling like you HAVE to play a 5 can be bad for your team.

    As much as D’Antoni is mentioned as a selling point to LeBron, other suitors will have an easy time pointing out how his “gimmicky style” will never win championships.

  52. I would call Ibaka a true center in today’s game, by the way. He’s 6-10, 235, and only 20 years old.

  53. Eric,

    Your concern about salary figures was discussed at length in the post at the top of the page. I would advise reading it before you post. The writers here are knowledgeable and articulate. You might learn something.

  54. i think this is the optimum team for next year:

    PG= sergio
    SG= lebron
    SF= gallo
    PF= bosh
    C= a shoot blocking, rebonding center

    Sixth man = Chandler

  55. if the committed salary is $20.62 million and the cap is set at $51 million, two max contracts would be $30 million which equals $50.62 million, how are we going to sign 6 other contracts. are their cap exceptions and if there are what are they?

  56. Here’s a weird thought: Andrew Bynum. Now, before you all trash me, ride this thought with me…

    The Lakers, after this season, win or lose, are going to be staring at $20 plus million over the cap next season, with no expiring contracts. The only way they’ll be able to slide under that would be THIS year, and that would involve letting Kobe go. That’s not gonna happen, so Mitch Kupchik (sp?) will HAVE to get rid of an albatross for an expiring contract or two…lest he get screwed by a new CBA that imposes a hard cap.

    I know Bynum’s overpaid, but he’d be a damned better center than Curry! So, do the obvious: Curry and Chandler for Bynum. The Knicks don’t lose much of their salary space and get a good all around big man (albeit one who gets hurt a little too often, yes, but it’d be worth it as LeBron bait) who can move Lee to the 4 (where he belongs) and still have enough room for LeBron and re-sign the current backcourt. So it would look like this:

    PG – Sergio ($2.8 mil)
    SG – T-Mac ($1.3 mil?)
    SF – LeBron (~$16 mil)
    PF – Lee (~$10 mil)
    C – Bynum ($12 mil)

    F – Gallo (~3 mil)
    G – Douglas (~1 mil)
    G – Walker (~1 mil)

    Again, am I looking at this right?

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